Sunday, September 16, 2012
Just Never Small Enough
By: Steven Plaut
A view from the year 2017:
As we know, a unique new peace program was proposed six years ago, in
2012, and implemented in 2014. The plan was based on the principle of
Two States for Two Peoples and it received near-unanimous support from
the Israeli Left. Among those celebrating the breakthrough and
endorsing the plan were Peace Now, Physicians for Human Rights,
Meretz, Yesh Gvul and many other like-minded organizations.
A number of European governments decided to provide generous funding
for all groups endorsing the proposal.
The new Two States for Two Peoples plan was very simple. The Gaza
Strip, the West Bank, and large areas of Israel-within-the-Green-Line
(that is, inside Israel's pre-1967 borders) would become a new
Palestinian Arab state. At the same time the Jews would be allowed to
retain their own Jewish state in Mini-Israel.
Mini-Israel was a miniature city, similar to the Madurodam in Holland,
Lego-Land in various countries, and other mini-cities in European
countries. Located in a beautiful park near Latrun in the Ayalon
Valley, with easy access to and from Yasir Arafat International
Airport in Lod (the name was changed from Ben-Gurion Airport in 2014),
it was a most exciting tourist attraction.
First opened in 2002, it featured over 350 beautifully crafted
exact-replica models of historical, religious, archeological and
modern sites. Mini-Israel presented visitors with a one of a kind
introduction to Israel, all in one magical site. Everything was to
exact scale, where each 4 centimeters represented a full meter of
pre-liberation Palestinian territory.
The sites in Mini-Israel depicted different traditions and the ethnic
groups associated with them – Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Druze,
Bedouin and others.
The idea of relocating the real Israel inside Mini-Israel was "simply
outstanding," enthused longtime leftist nuisance Yossi Beilin.
"After all, Mini-Israel captures all aspects of Israel and all of its
cultures and traditions. There are religious and secular themes, arts,
music, archeology, antiquities, and so on."
"We have been insisting for decades that land has no real importance
in the modern world," added Shulamit Aloni and Zehava Galon from
Meretz. "Under this peace plan, we prove that Israelis may preserve
all aspects of their heritage without occupying lands that properly
belong to others."
Mini-Israel, liberals and leftists were quick to point out, had
everything Jews needed to operate their own state. Kosher food and
supplies were available in the souvenir shop. The grounds contained
30,000 figures, 50 animals, 15,000 trees (real bonsai, cultivated and
planted by the Agronoy nursery), 4,700 cars, 100 motorbikes, 14
trains, 3 helicopters, 32 aircraft, 175 ships and 230 trucks. The
building in Mini-Israel resembling Ben Gurion University were all
flying the Palestinian flag.
The park was loosely shaped like a Star of David, with each of the six
triangles representing an area or city – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa,
Galil, Negev, etc. – though once the real Israel retreated into
Mini-Israel, the shape was modified so as not to offend non-Jewish
The underlying principle for achieving peace with this plan was based
on egalitarian reciprocity. All Jews were to be expelled from the
area to become Palestine, while Arabs would be allowed to exercise
their right of return to Mini-Israel.
Progressive Jews in other countries – J Street, the Religious Action
Center of the Reform movement, Jewish Voices for Peace, Rabbis for
Obama, etc. – all joined their Israeli ideological soul mates in
enthusiastically supporting the plan, urging President Obama and
Secretary of State Clinton to embrace it as U.S. policy.
The only opposition to the plan came from some who believed it did not
go far enough.
"The proposal still does not resolve the fundamental injustice of
Mini-Israel being an apartheid regime in which Arabs are denied equal
rights," insisted uber-leftist anti-Zionist Uri Avnery. Several
editorials in Haaretz, newly renamed Al-Ard, agreed. At the
initiative of the departments of political science at Ben-Gurion
University and Tel Aviv University, 637 Israeli professors and
lecturers signed a statement demanding that Mini-Israel be boycotted
because not all the signs there were in Arabic.
The progressive academics also called upon the EU and the U.S. to
intervene in the conflict and send troops to Mini-Israel to prevent
the Jews there from charging Arab visitors admission fees for tickets.
But criticism of the new Jewish state of Mini-Israel began to spread
almost as soon as the new plan was implemented. As the six-month
anniversary of Two States for Two Peoples approached, Toronto's York
University became the first of 27 universities in North America to
hold scholarly conferences on apartheid, injustice and discrimination
Things only got worse. The government of Mini-Israel decided to put up
a security wall to keep out visitors who tried to get in without
buying tickets. "Tear down this Apartheid Wall," screamed members of
Anarchists against the Wall and the International Solidarity Movement.
Israel's left-wing parties held rallies in Rabin Square – the small
one in Mini-Israel of course, not the big one in liberated Palestine.
Under the banners "We Now Have a Peace Partner," and "It Won't be Over
Until We Negotiate," they protested against talk in the Mini-Knesset
about retaliation by Mini-Israel against Palestine for the mortars and
rockets being fired into Mini-Israel from nearby liberated Latrun.
The ayatollah of liberated Palestine meanwhile responded to an
emergency request from residents of Mini-Israel to be allowed safe
passage to Arafat Airport where they could catch flights to safety
"Use your own airport in Mini-Israel," came the perfunctory response.
"Just don't fly over our air space."